Battleship, Peter Berg, 131 mins (12A)
Delicacy, David & Stéphane Foenkinos, 108 mins (12A)

Bittersweet Tautou is a blessed relief after an earful of slimy green alien

For all the martial mayhem promised by its name, and by the painting on the box, I remember the game of Battleship as being a quiet, nerdy one, involving pencils, graph paper and frowning concentration.

The film, which is supposedly based on the game, doesn't have quite the same characteristics. A cross between Independence Day and Pearl Harbor, it's a trashy glorification of all things mechanical, especially things that make other things explode. It's also one of the loudest films you'll ever see. Moments of sombre reflection are married to AC/DC's greatest hits at full volume, while the action sequences are so ear-bleeding that even an electromagnetic signal zipping through the emptiness of outer space sounds as if someone's stuck a vacuum-cleaner in your ear.

It's this signal that attracts a squadron of alien spacecraft to our planet, but, unlike most extra-terrestrial invaders, they don't hover over the White House or crash land in the desert: they splash down in the sea off the coast of Hawaii. And then, instead of taking to the skies again, their ships hop through the ocean like gigantic, heavily armed porpoises. Unfortunately for them, it so happens that the world's navies have gathered nearby for a bridge-building exercise, which means that Taylor Kitsch (star of the ill-fated John Carter), Rihanna and Liam Neeson are ready to kick some slimy green butt.

Battleship is set in a universe where technologically superior aliens can be defeated by some cool stunt-driving and a right-hook to the jaw, and where the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent civilians are justified if they inspire the hero to ask his sexy blonde girlfriend's dad for her hand in marriage. But I admit I quite admired its bludgeoning energy and its hearty, unapologetic embrace of every post-Top Gun cliché. With a plot that makes reasonable sense, and a laugh-at/ laugh-with ratio of about 50:50, Battleship is cleverer and funnier than most blockbusters of its decibel level. It also allows Japanese seamen as well as Americans to be the heroes, while presenting the monsters as being far less bloodthirsty than the humans they're up against. If you really have to make a noisy, cheesy, militaristic alien invasion movie, then this is how it should be done.

All the same, it's a relief to sample the more refined flavours of Delicacy, a bittersweet Parisian comedy drama starring Audrey Tautou. Near the beginning of the film, her perfect husband is killed in a traffic accident, a very real danger for happy couples in the movies these days, if One Day and The Adopted are anything to go by.

Tautou's all-consuming grief is acutely observed and forcefully played, but eventually she begins her slow recovery. Two of the men in her office are particularly keen to help: her handsome boss (Bruno Todeschini), who doesn't see his marriage as any obstacle to their future together, and a lumbering Swedish subordinate (François Damiens) who wears so much beige that half of his co-workers haven't even noticed him.

Tautou is now so skinny that you keep expecting her to slip down a crack in the pavement, and the film as a whole doesn't have much more meat on it, in plot terms, but Delicacy serves up lots of tasty morsels to nibble on: the elegant ways in which it skips from day to day and year to year; hints dropped about the secret lives of its supporting characters; dresses that make the female staff of Mad Men look as if they've slouched in on Casual Friday.

Despite being underpinned by gnawing sadness, it's really a twinkly, playful Doris Day office comedy, if one that never explains what the characters actually do in their office.

Film choice

Sean Penn goes Goth and hunts Nazis in Paolo Sorrentino's sublimely oddball road movie This Must be the Place. Meanwhile, the first Argentine Film Festival comes to London's Ritzy, (Wed to Sun). Ricardo Darin – from Carancho and The Secret In Their Eyes – stars in the festival opener Chinese Take-Away (argentinefilmfestival.com).

Arts and Entertainment
Just folk: The Unthanks

music
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne with his Screen Actors Guild award for Best Actor

film
Arts and Entertainment
Rowan Atkinson is bringing out Mr Bean for Comic Relief

TV
Arts and Entertainment

Theatre

Arts and Entertainment
V&A museum in London

Art Piece taken off website amid 'severe security alert'

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Reese Witherspoon starring in 'Wild'

It's hard not to warm to Reese Witherspoon's heroismfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Word up: Robbie Coltrane as dictionary guru Doctor Johnson in the classic sitcom Blackadder the Third
books

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Hacked off: Maisie Williams in ‘Cyberbully’

Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challenge

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game are both nominated at the Bafta Film Awards
Arts and Entertainment

Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated

Arts and Entertainment
Damian Lewis shooting a scene as Henry VIII in Wolf Hall
TV

Arts and Entertainment
A history of violence: ‘Angry, White and Proud’ looked at the rise of far-right groups

tv

An expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle

Arts and Entertainment

art

Lee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist

Arts and Entertainment

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Michael Keaton in the 1998 Beetlejuice original

film

Arts and Entertainment

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Michael Kitchen plays Christopher Foyle in ITV's 'Foyle's War'

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Downton Abbey star Joanne Froggatt will be starring in Dominic Savage's new BBC drama The Secrets

Arts and Entertainment
Vividly drawn: Timothy Spall in Mike Leigh’s ‘Mr Turner’
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    Army general planning to come out
    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
    Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

    Growing mussels

    Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project